Please Choose From the Following Options


Before I “publish” my next post about our upcoming, exciting family trip and getaway, I have to first publish this post. Why? Because I have a hunch this sort of story or round-about is something most all of us can empathize with in a wide variety of ways and emotions.

I will not set the stage by going all the way back in time to when computers, electronics, the internet or world-wide-web, WiFi, and artificial intelligence in the early-1990’s began slipping into our human lives and every aspect of our daily and nightly affairs both awake and asleep and whatever affairs are outside of and in between those two states of conscious and unconscious existence. I will spare all of you the gory details of how frequently I’ve had to swap or replace my cell phone and why. That would be a Rated NC-21 by the MPA; not pretty. No, recalling all of my dealings with computerized non-cellular “help” and their stages of actualization, their causes, then one or more effects and sub-effects of those causes and further actualizations these last 26-yeaars would just take-up too much of my brain capacity and waste all of you fine people’s valuable time. “You’re welcome, not “Your welcome” (expletives whispered) as my friendly, get-under-your-skin-like-poison-ivy H. Brawny the Editor corrects me down in his compassionate comment below! 🀨

Instead, I am going to share my most recent dealing with our hyper-techy computerized society, our fun business world, and our ever decreasing private personal lives within both those sectors. Sit back, enjoy, relate, and hopefully laugh at my expense.

THE MAD JOURNEY BEGINS WHEN…

…my old Dell laptop simply could no longer keep up or function properly or efficiently with the non-stop monthly tech advances and weekly, sometimes daily software and hardware “updates.” Yes, I had only owned my laptop for a whopping two years, five months. Remarkably this apparently made it prehistoric, if I was lucky. No, I’m kidding. I bought my Dell laptop in 2015 so it had a supposedly long, happy, hardworking life and was ready for AARP, Medicare Supplements, Social Security payments, and a date with the silicon mortician. Six years people! And if I’m honest, barely five! It was getting decrepit with a walker in 4 1/2 years then wheel-chair its last 12-months. The world had simply passed it by. Well, I’m no Chuck Yeager speed demon and Einstein, but the world actually blew past my geriatric laptop going about Mach-10. The subsequent sound-barrier BOOM was heard last month.

As is the custom in the U.S. and the West, it was time to toss it in the proverbial grave-garbage for a nearby landfill. No, kidding again. I can give the laptop to an electronics retail chain for proper carbon-footprint disposal. Last March and April I began my painful shopping and research for a new, nuclear-powered, light-speed CPU, 800-TB (trigabyte/terabyte) internal memory with accompanying 500-TB hard drive with MS Windows 20.2467. This is apparently what is now required for all modern laptops and cell-phones to manage the out-of-control mandates of internet sites and graphic processors with hyper-hungry memory and resource demands. I haven’t even gotten into the vast amounts of bandwidth required to conveniently stream anything online with your phone or laptop; operative word there: convenient.

Now, skipping ahead to my nightmare ordeal with having my brand new Space X powered laptop shipped via UPS 3-day delivery to my residence. Why 3-day? Because it was only an extra $17 USD. I had chosen and purchased my new Space X powered laptop on a Friday afternoon. I wanted it delivered as soon as possible because my old Dell was literally on a breathing-machine and near comatose. Very little movement or twitching from not-well Dell. But paying more for a Saturday delivery was outrageous so I decided to be patient and wait for a Monday delivery by 7pm or before, guaranteed says UPS for a mere $17.

Because delivering to my residence is within a community complex, tricky for visitors or first-time guests, I registered with my retailer and UPS for text and email updates on the status of my In Transit laptop or Out for Delivery in UPS’s verbiage. I’m very excited and anxious to sign for—or the receptionist downstairs in the lobby to sign for—the taking of responsibility for the package/box away from UPS hands and possible liability claim. I wait. I glance at my phone text messages. I glance at my emails. No status changes or updates. At 3pm and then 4pm the same thing. Five o’clock, nothing new. I take a break, relax and start prepping dinner and pour myself some hot sake. This will go well with my Chinese dish and Japanese sushi. The receptionist downstairs is in fact there at her post. I checked.

It is now 5:54pm and I check the status of my package on the UPS website. This is what it reads:

Delivery failed. The UPS driver attempted to deliver your package, but was unable to. Reason: No one available to sign for package. Another delivery attempt will be made the next business day. Please have someone available to sign for the package.

Logged at 5:29 PM by UPS driver

Quite irritated I went downstairs to the lobby and reception desk to inquire why the UPS driver only just minutes ago found no one here at the desk. There was also another gentleman (resident) sitting on the lobby couch. As is sometimes the case, when the receptionist—who also has other required duties by her employer—must leave temporarily her post behind the desk, so they place a very noticeable legible sign on top of the desk, informing visitors to pickup the phone headset, right there next to the sign, and Dial “0” for immediate assistance or help. I’ve had to do it maybe once or twice myself. The receptionist either answers the phone call or quickly appears back at the desk. Simple, right? However, before I had a chance to do this the courteous lady comes out from the back to help me. I asked her Did the UPS driver come in the lobby, to the desk here about 15-mins ago? She replied no, but she had to step away for about 5-6 minutes. In that time no one called her with the desk-phone there as instructed. She went on to say that the drivers of FedEx, UPS, DHL, USPS, etc, all know to pickup the handset and dial zero when they have stepped away.

Overhearing our conversation the gentleman sitting on the couch in the lobby said the UPS driver had indeed come inside, stood at the receptionist desk for a minute or so when he explained to the driver the sign, and to call/dial zero. Apparently the UPS driver said nothing and continued to stand there another minute or less. According to this helpful man on the couch, he then turned around, walked out and back to his UPS truck and drove off. The receptionist returned to the desk never knowing UPS had just been there with packages… for no more than two, maybe less than 3-minutes until I had come down to talk to her. If my blood was already simmering, it was damn well boiling up now.

Ready to give someone at UPS a piece of my tempestuous mind, I returned to my 2nd floor residence straightaway, spending 15-20 minutes searching, reading, rereading, and wallowing through the mass jungle that was the UPS website of Where’s Waldo information for a correct 1-800 Customer Service and/or Package-Tracking Assistance phone number which finally reached the precise UPS department. I had no other choice of departments to voice my complaint. It’s now about 6:20pm. The extra $17 USD is fast becoming a total loss.

Modern corporate Customer Service & Help Desks – c. 2010–2021

After dialing the eleven-digit number, listening through the 6-7 different options to press on my 4G Android phone, I get to the next computer-voice to listen to those four different options leading me to the Promise Land of UPS satisfaction. Only this computer-voice tells me that I must speak my selection into the phone, therefore, sending me on my way to further computerized direction with the hope of distant(?) satisfaction. The AI voice asks me to speak my 10-12 digit tracking number. She accepts it then a second or two later gives me now just TWO options, A) submit a Lost or Damaged Claim form at their website’s said page—she gives me the URL address—or B) go to their Track A Package webpage with your tracking number. At no time am I given the option late in this juncture to request speaking with a living human being at UPS. If I refused to choose A or B, she politely disconnects with me; hangs up. This happened three times as I was interpreting the computer AI instructions making sure I didn’t misunderstand something. To my further advanced tempestuous mind and rising blood-pressure I did not misunderstand anything I was told by their computer AI and according to all available options, I was indeed stuck in UPS limbo in the machine loop of Never-ever Land, not the Promise Land. Back to square one. It is now past 7:00pm.

I took 10-minutes to breath and slow my pulse as I could feel my blood-vessels in both temples throbbing. I grabbed a lime-wedge, a pinch of salt, and poured myself a double shot of Don Francisco Javier’s Sauza Hornitos Reposado tequila and downed my Elixir de tranquilidad. A few minutes later I was ready to go hunting at UPS again.

Long story and rant shorter, with sheer angered persistence I managed to get a hold of an actual live person “Hassem” at UPS to speak about their lazy-ass, don’t want to do my job delivery driver! After about 25-minutes of discussing everything with Hassem I told him, because I knew our phone conversation was probably being recorded for “Quality Assurance” and his management team and hopefully their management team above them, I said to Hassem in a slightly more intense tone If I could’ve simply spoken with a LIVE human at UPS from the very start, I would not have wasted near 2 1/2-hours wallowing everywhere on the UPS website and inside the never-ending loop called UPS computer AI-voices that never implicitly deduced the most efficient solution to my problem created by UPS!”

When all was said and done that Monday evening, late, when I threw away $17 USD for Monday delivery and nothing but UPS computerized torture, I could not convince Hassem or his Supervisors to make that lazy-ass delivery driver come back out to my residence with my new Space X powered laptop. I was told by them I would have to wait until tomorrow evening, Tuesday, a full day later for my package delivery… oh yeah, by 7pm, “Guaranteed” to be late by 24-hours, higher blood-pressure with advance AI computerized annoyance, and heavy drinking caused by humans who don’t seem to want to deal live with other humans. That’s just the way it is, huh—how our 21st-century hyper-techy American society runs: electronic-driven cold-blooded AI silicon devices, droids, and programs? Pffft! What tha hell was I thinking? That’s change my man, for the better, driven by technology! That won’t change, I guess I’ll que the song…


Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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56 thoughts on “Please Choose From the Following Options

  1. I feel your pain man.

    Never, ever, in the automated turnstile, do I get the option, among those available, that suits my circumstances. Or, these days, an option to speak to a rep. It’s almost like they design these damnable satanic devices to purposely piss you off!

    Just yesterday, well, let me set this up. last year around this time a tornado ripped through the county killing one one guy south of us. It was a powerful storm, and we were in the hail core. Hail stones as big around as a half dollar and up to a half inch thick were beating the crap out of everything. Our car suffered greatly. Long story short, instead of fixing our car, the insurance company totaled it out. Well, it’s still a good car, just had a new engine put in it by Ford, warranty job, and we wanted to keep it. The payoff by retaining the car was quite a bit less than what we owed, but they said we could put the claim on hold indefinately. We are close now to totaling the car out, keeping it, and breaking even on the deal. So I called insurance company to discuss.

    Well we needed the actual payoff from the lender, so I called them. Went through the automated hell system, by the third time through, much like you, determining the options and NONE of them fit my circumstances! And I was getting a little hot under my hat.

    Used to be, in this situation, you could just hit zero, and you would get somebody, but I guess they canned that guy. I finally just picked an option that I hoped would get me a human, even it it is in the wrong department. Zero did not work.

    So I went with “morgtage guy.” Mortgage guy gets on the phone, and I hammered his ass good about the automated system, as nicely as I could, and he sent me to the right department. The guy there was patient and helpful, got me the info I needed, and I told him before I hung up, if he had any way of knowing who mortgage guy is, please send him my apology.

    But damn! These automated systems make a guy want to go in and tear their damn building down… Hulk Smash!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Used to be, in this situation, you could just hit zero, and you would get somebody, but I guess they canned that guy. I finally just picked an option that I hoped would get me a human, even it it is in the wrong department. Zero did not work.

      Ah HAH! See Shell, that was your huge mistake, thinking there were breathing, living humans working for that (mega large?) insurance company. See, super-sized wealthy corporations—at least American-based corporations these days—cut many corners financially in order to operate as streamlined and lean as possible! Today, those hyper competitive businesses realized some two decades ago that their biggest expense, their biggest Quarterly payouts—speaking strictly monetarily, i.e. on paper, on the books, inhumane?—payroll, medical-health benefits, 401k’s, pensions, etc.—are a company’s most painful expense. What to do, right?

      Move AWAY FROM intelligent human employees who cost way too much to employ for reasonable periods of time, or worse, till retirement, and move operations increasingly (or suddenly) into FULL automation. Machines cost a huge company a lot less disposable revenue than live, high-maintenance human employees. See? It’s just business Shell. Don’t take it personally, it’s only your livelihood. “It’s Just the Way It Is.” πŸ˜„ Plus, this means a lot more pure profit and wagon-loads of extra money for a few highest executives and the Owners, stockholders, and Board members… for more Lear Jets, Tahiti vacation homes, and 100-foot yachts.

      Brotha, I believe we are stuck with these machines, droids, and silicon-interaction for a very long time. Be careful my Friend, they might be coming for you already. πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

      • If they get me, I promise not to rat you out like Donald Sutherland in “Invasion of the Body Snatchers!”

        It’s just so darn Republican for businesses to cut the people out of the pipeline and force the machines upon us. All in the name of the mighty dollar. Anything goes in corporate cutbacks and CEO bonuses. I guess whoever has the most money when they die wins…?

        The rest of us pay the cost in frazzled nerves, high blood pressure, and ARRRRGHH!

        You would think, that sort of business model would bite them in the ass sooner or later. But I suppose they don’t care as long as they make more $$ in the short term.

        I miss real people…

        Liked by 2 people

        • Shell, I find 21st-century American life to be a hilarious paradox, a Catch-22 in so many ways on so many levels. So many of us for several generations have bought hook, line, and sinker the fad or Neo-American Dream of high-octane Consumerism. Yes, it is a natural predictable byproduct of hyper Capitalism, especially during a spell of Wild Wild West “free-market, deregulated, less government”—you know the overkilled rhetoric—freedoms and liberties, to quote the common patriotic propaganda. HOWEVER, what was never recognized from the start of our Neo-American Dream with hyper Consumerism was… NO, “stuff,” gadgets, new fangled machines, etc, et al, and then more of it actually does not make your life better, happier, or more complete. All of it makes you covertly enslaved to it! Case and point, my laptops—earlier desktops which now appear to be archaic and useless—and multiple cell phones, all of which over time, SHORTER and SHORTER periods of time, have literally demanded more and more of my time, undivided attention and cognition, and bi-annual fly-by-night increased education of how they work and how to protect my privacy… JUST TO OPERATE them on a very basic level! Two, three years later? They are outdated! Keep them too long and you are guaranteed a future of sheer frustration and terror.

          I would MUCH RATHER spend all this time, energy, and money toward an ORGANIC life with other ORGANIC beings! There is where a happy, healthier, fulfilling life is to be found. But it is becoming harder and harder to find and hold on to with each passing year isn’t it? LOL

          Like

          • You indeed make a good point. But, personally I am not married to my damn phone. I use it mostly as a bluetooth music device in the car. I might actually talk to people with it occaisionally, and every once in a while, will Google something when I’m away from home.

            I believe how much time a person spends on social media with a phone, says more about the person than the tech.

            So many, might as well have their phones grafted to their hands, and walk around with solar panels on their heads to keep them charged.

            Now computers? Guilty!

            …and I’d much rather have a drink with friends, than spend my time slobbering on FB.

            Liked by 1 person

            • I would dearly love to have fMRI studies to indicate which brain hemisphere and how much cross-over activity there is when people are staring at their phones while engaging in social media. I suspect it is very much a left hemisphere activity.

              Interesting study of right hemisphere stroke patients: looking down a street and identifying building (they identify every building on the right). Now. Same patients taken down then street, turned 180 degrees and asked to identify the buildings (they identify every building on the right, which were all the unidentified building on the left). When asked to combine their findings, patients grew very agitated and quite angry, insisting that what came before didn’t even exist in order to keep the most current model at the forefront.

              This reminds me very much of today’s bifurcated and partisan world; I think closely following and caring about status on social media causes what amounts to acting as if brain damaged.

              Liked by 2 people

  2. As soon as I hear the phrase, “Your call is important to us…” I know I’m doomed. I have entered the world of DoubleSpeak, where I know my call isn’t the least bit important to anyone anywhere. That’s why it’s automated.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I share your pain. Something similar happened to me a while back with a new phone I’d ordered from Sprint. UPS claimed they couldn’t find my house, even though UPS finds my house easily enough to deliver stuff from Amazon, Target, etc. on a regular basis. It was a mess. Not only was the phone shipped back to a warehouse somewhere, Sprint’s computers now believed I didn’t have a phone at all because the new phone had already been entered into its system and it had been returned. So not only no new phone, my old, still functional phone, was now bricked.

    But sometimes customer service really works, and works well. Sprint was *fantastic*. I got online and immediately got someone at Sprint in an online chat and they were *pissed* at UPS and the warehouse. My old phone was immediately reactivated and they sent me a new iPhone overnight by FedEx. And they paid my phone bill for that phone for the month to make up for the inconvenience.

    Liked by 4 people

    • HOLY EFFIN MOSES and THREE STONE TABLETS!!! 😧 Grouchy, you may have just sold me on moving over to Sprint! Now SEE!? THAT’S what living, breathing, helpful human beings can do! If you had never spoken to, or chatted online with a person… do you think that remarkable treatment would have happened?

      Liked by 3 people

      • I think a lot of times it’s the luck of the draw. But generally I’ve found that if they have an online chat function I’ll generally do much better than trying to phone or email.

        But for whatever reason generally I’ve had rather good experiences with customer services with most things. A few years ago I bought a really expensive Celestron 11″ telescope and when it arrived the drive motors were faulty. I sent an email to the customer service department telling them I’d like to have them send me a paid shipping label so I could send it back to get it fixed or exchanged for a new one. That was a Friday night. Monday morning I got a phone call from the vice president of customer services telling me that a new telescope had already been shipped and I should have it by Wednesday. I didn’t have to ship the defective one back until I was sure the new one worked properly. It actually arrived on Tuesday.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Wow! The “Vice-President of Customer Service”!!! Geeezzz, what do I haveta do (in his best Rodney Dangerfield impersonation) to get a little respect around here?” πŸ€·πŸΌβ€β™‚οΈ

          Like

  4. ‘You’re welcome’ not ‘your (welcome)’ β€” you’re welcome. Literally not ‘literally’. These minor errata aside, this is quite literally the most interesting blog post I have ever read. My last Dell lasted (as all so-called last Dell’s ought) no fewer than ten years. At its funeral I even managed to flog the motherboard for fifty quid to a passing fan. Then again, I’m the typo person who’d sell his own grandmotherboard. Greetings, Professor!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hariod, I’m going to say this in the most docile, semi-patient, straightforward way I can considering the subject matter and what I went through…

      I had to take several breaks from drafting this post because in a matter of every 7-10 minutes I could feel my blood-pressure rising, my fingers hitting the keys harder and harder, and the steamy frustration SPEWING OUT of my mouth, ears, into my arms and hands wanting to strangle something!!! 🀨 FORGIVE ME PLEASE O Perfect One if in the heat of the moment I missed a simple, but apparently paramount, life-risking, grammatical and syntactical YOU’RE or YOU ARE for THA LOVE OF GOD!!!!

      Greetings H! My hemorrhoids are swollen now, how are yours? Or is it… you are’s!? πŸ€”

      Liked by 2 people

      • In (and with) respect to your (not ‘you’re’) you are’s (I shall for now overlook the catastrophic apostrophe), ought it not be your arse β€” unless of course you were bottoming-out with typos, squeezing a bit of scatalogical fun out? (Do watch that blood pressure.) Knowing you, it could well have been. But leaving aside my blood-boiling pedantry, I was pleased to spot your (not ‘you’re’) nuclear metaphor. Are you as yet warming to the fission mission, having overcome any confusion over fusion? Have a look at this fabulous contraption (you might consider installing one in you/you’re dungeon: https://generalfusion.com/ What a blast, eh?

        Liked by 1 person

    • Hariod, as you may remember a few weeks ago or several months ago, or even a year or two ago, I have been on a serious binge of fine British comedy. “QI” has always been my all-time favorite, even watching repeatedly ALL series I can get over here across the Pond with Stephen Fry and Sandi Toksvig hosting—both brilliant! Tons of laughter for me.

      I have since discovered another British show on the BBC called “Would I Lie To You?” I’ve played many a rib-cracking game like this with my own friends and cousins at family reunions and I must say, discovering just how superb or disastrously people can be lying perfectly thru their teeth as if it were second nature, OR are so miserable at it that if they were to be hired by the U.S. Secret Service or MI6 they’d disappear from Earth in a matter of hours or one day! Without further Adeu… or is it Adu or Adou(?), anyway… I give this delightful example…

      Liked by 1 person

        • 🀣🀣🀣 (he talks about the vernacular of “house” in NYC pronounced there as “ass” as opposed to “OW-ss” in Britain) So while visiting the States here Flanagan asks us Americans about taking an American woman out, then asking in his best NYC accent… “What are the chances of me coming(?) in your ass?”

          I’m sure I frightened the neighbors when I screamed “HAH!” and laughed.

          Liked by 1 person

      • Since you’re fond of Brit television, look up Father Ted sometime. It’s about three Catholic priests who live on a remote island and… No, I can’t even begin to describe it. Even terms like “surreal” don’t do it justice.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. And I thought this level of corporate ‘Stupid’ was a South African thing.
    After many years dealing with personnel at mortgage departments over the phone, most of whom must surely have been obliged to have their IQs surgically lowered by at least 25 points before taking up employment with the bank of their choice, and being obliged to listen to Kenny G music on loop while being placed on hold (which would likely induce suicidal tendencies were I to have to listen to that faking sax playing drivel again), I avoid any phone call that involves the opening phrase: ”For (insert option) press 1”, like the plague.

    Liked by 3 people

    • And I thought this level of corporate β€˜Stupid’ was a South African thing.

      Hah! Nope, colossally oversized “corporate stupid” is not bound by any oceans or national borders Ark. I suspect it’s everywhere on the globe; from pole to pole, longitudinally from hemisphere to hemisphere, and from the highest job-position to the lowest, INCLUDING top executives/owners. Don’t ever, EVER believe any ultra-proud American who arrogantly boasts that the socioeconomics, industry-manufacturing, workforce or personnel management, or any sector that contributes to the lifestyle or standard of living in the United States reigns supreme. It is NOT by any measure “the finest” or “the epitome” of any and all nations on this planet. And the United Parcel Service (UPS), a >$3.08 billion (equity) logistical shipping giant, is not a AAA+ corporation—not with delivery drivers like I dealt with! πŸ˜‰

      So, when some company’s or corporation’s employee fucks up royally in serving you or doing a job for you, and you refuse to get lost in the cyber-maze of No Human Personnel To Be Found… what do you do? Lose all your money and time? Write it off as a total bust?

      Liked by 1 person

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